VFLW Grand Final – Hawthorn v Geelong: They’re a happy team at Hawthorn

Match Report: Kasey Symons
Photos: Jack Banister



History was made on Sunday afternoon at Etihad Stadium when Hawthorn defeated the Geelong Cats by 13-points to claim the club’s first ever flag in the VFLW competition.


It was a big day for both club who were playing in their first VFLW Grand Final game (both came into the competition in 2017 after the success of the inaugural AFLW Season) and both had played an amazing final series, both defeated minor premiers Collingwood and came with full momentum to the big stage on Sunday.


There was something odd about watching VFLW at Etihad Stadium that left me feeling conflicted about the venue. I love the message that playing the season’s final game at an elite venue sends, but it’s so cold and sterile inside that ground. I had really enjoyed watching the finals played at North Port Oval, sitting in the grandstand and taking in the city views. But I also think that a Grand Final deserves a big stage… I’m undecided on what the best option is, especially when I was also really disappointed that the AFLW Grand Final was hosted a Princes Park this year which I thought was an inadequate venue. But I digress.


The Hawks swooped early, putting immediate scoreboard pressure on the Cats with a couple of early behinds then scoring the first goal of the game through Tamara Luke. Geelong responded with the intensity we’ve seen throughout the finals series and got one back with Maddie Boyd slotting one to make it only 2-points the difference at quarter time.


A captain does what she can. Emma Mackie goes for it. Photo: Jack Banister.


Perhaps a more realistic attempt? Emma Mackie gets some air. Photo: Jack Banister.


Hawthorn dominated the second term, their pressure not allowing Geelong to score at all for the quarter. Champions of the women’s game in Pheobe McWilliams who ended up with 13 disposals and 6 marks and Meg Hutchins who had 17-disposals and 7 marks, were unstoppable however missed their opportunities at goal, collecting only behinds until captain Emma Mackie scored a beauty to increase the lead to 11-points at the main break.


Meg Hutchins leads the pack getting a fist to the ball. Photo: Jack Banister.


Geelong tried to rally after halftime and weren’t without their chances to take the lead from the Hawks. They had four-behinds in a row in the third, finals nerves getting the best of some with opportunities lost in front of open goals due to shaky bounces on the run. The Cats controlled most of the ball but Hawthorn steadied and capitalised on Geelong’s errors and were able to add another goal to their tally through star forward, Sarah Perkins before the final break.


Future Cat Phoebe McWilliams edges out her future team mate. McWilliams will play for Geelong in the 2019 AFLW Season. Photo: Jack Banister.


Kate Darby got the Cats back on the board in the final term to try to keep Geelong in the game but the classy Hawks were just too good on the day. They kept their pressure on until the very end when Emily Gilder kicked the goal that would seal the game. A beautiful set-shot following a free kick giving Hawthorn a 13-point lead with seven minutes to go.


Emily Gilder slots a goal late in the final term to seal the game. Photo: Jack Banister.


Power stance. Emily Gilder. Photo: Jack Banister.


Emily Gilder celebrates an important goal with teammates. Photo: Jack Banister.


The final siren sounded and it was euphoria for the brown and yellow. I had jumped on the Geelong bandwagon in the past few weeks. Watching them knock the top 2 teams of the season in Collingwood and the NT Thunder out of premiership contention in thrilling games was exciting but I couldn’t look past what a premiership meant for someone like Meg Hutchins.


Hutchins has played footy for sixteen years, not to mention the extensive work she has done for the women’s game in that time and had never tasted premiership glory. It was a beautiful moment to see her collect her premiership medal on the dias. A true champion of the game.


Hawthorn’s Chantella Perera won the Lisa Hardeman Medal for best on ground. She had an outstanding game in defence and ended on 13 disposals with four marks and five tackles.


‘We’re a happy team at Hawthorn!’. The final siren sounds. Photo: Jack Banister.


Well done to both teams, and to all the VFLW sides who provided an entertaining season full of great footy. Geelong certainly looks like they’ll be a team to be wary of in the 2019 AFLW Season when they get some of their AFLW stars in the side like Hawthorn’s Pheobe McWilliams who will don the hoops next year. I can’t wait until women’s footy begins again.



HAWTHORN                      1.3     2.6     3.6     4.6 (30)

GEELONG CATS                  1.1      1.1      1.5      2.5 (17)


Hawthorn: Luke, Mackie, Perkins, Gilder

Geelong Cats: Boyd, Darby

Leading disposal-winners

Hawthorn: Beeson 24, Hutchins 17, Van Dyk 17, Cann 13, McWilliams 13, Mackie 13, Perera 13, Crockett-Grills 12, Luke 11, Ebb 10

Geelong Cats: Morrison 20, Purcell 19, Keryk 16, Cranston 15, Burchell 14, McMahon 14, Blakeway 12, Boyd 11, Darby 10, Clifford 9

About Kasey Symons

Kasey Symons a writer and PhD Candidate at Victoria University. Her research is focused on gendered issues in sports cultures (primarily AFL) at a fan level. Kasey is a born and raised Victorian who barracks for the West Coast Eagles and yes, she knows that is weird.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Thanks for the summary and great photos. I couldn’t be there so this is the next best thing.

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